An Alabama church has come under fire after a picture surfaced online of the church’s sign that read “They falsely accused Jesus. Vote Roy Moore.”
According to WHNT, The Living Way Ministries Church in Opelika has received endless calls from protestors angered by the sign endorsing the Alabama Senate candidate, which was later removed.
“Many online are questioning the church’s ability to still receive tax exemptions since they have now endorsed a candidate,” notes the outlet.
According to the IRS’s website organizations that are exempt from income tax under section 501(a) of the internal revenue code as organizations described in section 501(c)(3) may not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office. That includes using branded items to promote a candidate or inviting a candidate to speak at an event for the organization.
While the church has remained silent on who posted the Moore endorsement, it did note that many people have keys and could have put the message up.
As Alabama prepares to hold the election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, conservative evangelicals remain divided over Moore, who is facing multiple allegations from women who claim he sexually assaulted or harassed them as teenagers.
Dozens of Alabama ministers have signed a letter that calls out Moore’s “extremist beliefs” and says that no person of faith should be able to support him.
“Even before the recent allegations of sexual abuse, Roy Moore demonstrated that he was not fit for office, and that his extremist values and actions are not consistent with traditional Christian values or good Christian character,” the pastors wrote in the letter.“He and politicians like him have cynically used Christianity for their own goals. But Roy Moore does not speak for Christianity, and he acts in ways that are contrary to our faith.”
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, tweeted, “Christian, if you cannot say definitively, no matter what, that adults creeping on teenage girls is wrong, do not tell me how you stand against moral relativism.”
However, in an op-ed, twin brothers David and Jason Benham, the Christian real-estate entrepreneurs who were famously dropped from an HGTV home-flipping show due to their belief in traditional marriage, said it is “sad” to see “Christians jump to the fourth step in Judge Moore’s case without fully knowing all the facts.”
“We understand it’s impossible to go back 40 years, and it’s difficult to follow Matthew 18 for a public figure, but it doesn’t change the fact that condemning and disassociating with a fellow believer based on accusations (some of which have already been upended) is not Christ-like, especially when the spirit of this whole situation wreaks of destruction and not restoration for everyone involved,” they wrote.
Moore has denied the allegations and posited that his accusers “don’t want to hear about God” and “don’t want to hear about the Constitution of the United States and its foundational principles in God.”
A Washington Post-Schar School poll, released Saturday, shows that Moore’s Democratic rival, Doug Jones, has a slight edge over the Alabama judge. However, aong white evangelical Protestants, 78 percent support Moore, and and only 19 percent back Jones.